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County Finance Committee Reviews Landfill, MCSD budgets


The Mississippi County Finance Committee discussed the Landfill and Mississippi County Sheriff's Department budgets during its regular monthly meeting on Monday.

Sheriff Dale Cook is requesting six cars and six trucks, as well as five cameras, in his budget.

He pointed out that the department has 28 vehicles with more than 100,000 miles.

The cost for the vehicles would be around $350,000.

Justice of the Peace Molly Houseworth-Jackson asked if the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department has a policy for driving the cars home if the officer lives outside the county.

"I have one person that lives in Lepanto," Cook responded. "That's the only one that lives outside of the county. We don't let them go outside of the county back and forth to work."

Cook said that officer, who was reportedly grandfathered in, is the only one living outside the county who takes his vehicle home, noting the residence is just four miles outside the county line.

"My policy is I'm not hiring anybody living outside the county to work in patrol or anything else," Cook said. "Now, with that said, there are some other entities that do that. I don't know what their guidance is. That's not any of my business."

Jackson pointed out that the officer is putting 62 miles per day on the vehicle by driving from Lepanto to Burdette.

"I think it's a huge benefit for us to have officers around the county with their patrol cars so that they can be called out any time of day or night," Jackson said. "I think that's a positive. It was just brought up the other day; I wasn't aware if we had more than one or how many living outside of the county. That may or may not make sense for them to be driving outside of the county. I was just questioning if there is a policy about officers that are not in the county."

It was noted that the last two officers hired by MCSD who lived outside the county were not allowed to drive their vehicles home until they moved inside the county.

Cook said his department keeps a close eye on mileage, noting the goal is to keep the vehicles to 3,000 miles or fewer per month if at all possible.

"This is a big county," Cook said. "I hate to put a mileage restriction on them but we look at that every month. If we get one or two that have skyrocketed up in miles, then we are going to find out why the mileage went up."

Meanwhile, Cook also asked to increase overtime from $15,000 in the 2019 budget to $48,000 for 2020.

"We've raised that based on what we've spent so far in 2019," the sheriff said.

In the proposed jail budget, Cook is requesting to bump up the uniform expenditure from $6,500 to $21,200. He proposes using Cintas Uniform Services, which would provide 11 uniforms per officer at an $11.99 per week rate.

The county jail also plans to utilize the services of healthcare provider Turn Key, which would replace Great River Medical Center staff. The firm would provide a nurse seven days a week, at 84 hours a week. The projected cost is $239,832 for 2020.

In other news, officials indicated the MCSD is considering whether or not to apply for the JAG grant this year, though kept it in the budget.

Cook noted MCSD has been applying for the grant for the county, Blytheville Police Department and Osceola Police Department.

"Where we've had problems in the past, one or both of these cities would not give us timely information on how they spent it, so that he could complete that grant process at the end," Cook said. "If you don't turn in all of that paperwork at the end of the year, then it's a process that they will take you out where you can't apply for it. We have been using ours for tasers and AWIN radios."

Meanwhile, the board discussed potentially using a collection agency to collect old fines, which reportedly total around $8 million.

Cook provided information on the process for utilizing a collection agency.

"Anything we can get out of old fines is good," Cook said. "I'm for it."

Judge Nelson, who owns a collection agency, noted the firm that the QC chooses will likely expect to take at least 40 percent of what's collected.

In other news, the Finance Committee sent a proposal from the Personnel Committee to hire Joyce Sanders as a landfill billing clerk at 19.5 hours per week at a rate of $15 per hour.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Monday afternoon in the county judge's office in Burdette to discuss the Road Department budget.